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Vishal Bharadwaj

Making films that successfully challenge the tired Bollywood box-office formula, yet captivate audiences.

Vishal Bharadwaj
Jitender Gupta
Vishal Bharadwaj
In Bollywood, powerful filmmakers are the ones who habitually deliver blockbusters at the box office by telling the same old stories in the same old formulaic way. Then there are those like Vishal Bharadwaj. He doesn’t make films to play it safe commercially—he most successfully epitomises the creative spirit and spunk of a new brigade of directors who dare to bend the rules of mainstream Hindi cinema and emerge victorious. Even with his debut directorial venture, the fun and excitement-filled Makdee, Vishal tried to do something different—redefine children’s films. It was not another morality-filled "talking down to the kids" movie but one that captured their imagination, feelings and fantasies. Maqbool was an intelligent and engrossing reinterpretation of Macbeth, transposed into the world of the Mumbai mafia. His latest, Omkara, brilliantly relocated Othello in the badlands of western UP, with urban yuppie hero Saif Ali Khan metamorphosed into Langda Tyagi, the khaini-chewing, venom-spewing Iago, sporting red nail polish on his pinky. Today everybody, from Shahrukh to Aamir, wants to work with him, but Vishal, 41, is quietly completing a short 12-minute film for Mira Nair’s HIV series. It’s this uncompromising artistic spirit and energy that, though it may prevent Vishal from joining our movie moguls league, will keep giving an edge of meaning to our formula-and-box office-driven cinema.
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